Category Archives: medical

a battle with body image

There is something that almost no one knows about me; something that I have kept to myself for years and struggled with internally.

I have such a love/hate relationship with food that it borderlines on being an eating disorder. 

I have always fought with myself when it comes to food, but I didn’t realize the extent of my problem until we talked about eating disorders in my psychology classes.

skinny barbie

For as long as I can remember, I have obsessed over what I eat– and not in a way that urges me to eat healthy.

I love food, abso-fuckin-lutely love it. I love to cook, try new foods, indulge in desserts, pin recipes that look amazing but i never get around to making. But it is what happens in my mind afterwards that is unhealthy.

I berate myself for eating too much or for eating something that is not 100% healthy. I obsess over it, send myself into a downward spiral of depression just because of my food choices. Eventually, the thoughts subside because of other things going on in my life, but the cycle repeats itself at the next meal. Even as I eat something and know that I will punish myself later, I continue to indulge. It is a harsh, unrelenting, and punishing ritual that I put myself through each and every time.

The thing of it is, I am not overweight in any way. I have been between 140 and 150 since high school, and a large part of that is in my big boobs.

be nice

I cannot remember the exact moment that I decided to do this to myself, but it had to have been somewhere after being told that I needed to eat all of the adult-portioned-sized food on my plate and before being told that I was getting a little ‘pudgy’. Looking back, I don’t think that the remarks were meant to break something in me; they were said to me by people who loved me. They were concerned adults, and I hold no blame over them.

No, this was my own issue, and it has gone hand in hand with the depression and manic behavior that I am finally getting under control.

I remember at one time in my life that I would get a stomachache after every meal. I began to eat less and less, relying on the excuse that I just didn’t feel well. I’ve since learn that this was most likely psychosomatic, meaning that my mind created the symptom because of anxiety over eating.

This is my new mantra. I have to stop being at war with myself, not only for my own health, but for the little ones who watch my every move. I refuse to raise a daughter or son who feels as absolutely empty about their self image as I do.

So the question is, how do we break the cycle of negative body image in such a critical and mean world? How do I teach my kids to love themselves when I don’t love myself, and when the outside world only focuses on their flaws?

These questions are constantly on my mind. Growing up in a household with 3 other women, I was never really taught positive body image. We didn’t tear each other down (at least, not that I remember), but I don’t think we ever built each other up either.

I have to correct this. I have to end the cycle of self-hate and work toward loving myself. This also means that I need to stop trying to find validation in the things other people say about me. The other day, my husband mentioned that I am bony. Although I am a size 10 with a ‘mommy pooch’ and absolutely no thigh gap, my rib cage and hip bones are prominent. I actually felt joy in the fact that he said I was bony. It was close to that elation of being told that you look to have lost weight.

So, what is my first step?

I absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence, and I love her mission for a better body image. Robyn Lawley, the Australian model, inspires me in this too. So maybe that is where the inspiration lies– finding people who set a great example for myself and my kids. Although I hate diets, I am considering this whole Paleo thing. And I’ll be honest, people have heard me talk about exercising and getting healthier before, only to see when I fail miserably. The difference between all those times and now is that my mind is in a healthier state. I think that I am more likely to fight for myself, rather than fight with myself if I am mentally capable of sticking to it.

So, perhaps, finally getting treatment for my bipolar depression is the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

The lesson here is that self love may be a struggle, but it is something that needs to be taught to our children. Love of others can be just as important, which means that women really need to stop bashing on each other’s bodies!


our masks


there is something that i have always found very provocative about masquerades. a group of people gather, all elegantly dressed, all seductively masked. it is sensual and beautiful in such a dark way that it appeals to our humanity in those secret ways that no one talks about.

the masks as delicately crafted, an effort to hide the truth behind them.

it is almost erotic.


it is beautiful, is it not?

as i was earning my psychology degree, i began to view the social world as a large masquerade. we wear our masks, present our best selves, and dance those rehearsed moves until it is all over.

the masks that we put on for the world hide our shame, our guilt, our deep dark secrets that we want no one else to be aware of.

what are the secrets that you are hiding behind your mask?

are you the guy that seems so cocky but is terribly insecure? are you the charismatic beauty who feels so absolutely alone? the smart woman who constantly feels stupid?

wouldn’t it be nice to lay it all out in the open? no more hiding behind the front you show others, but to show who you are completely and wholly.

wordsn on skin

i realize my own hypocrisy in this post. as much as i’d love to say that i am 100% upfront with everyone, i cannot. there are people in my life that really do not know me at all.

i hide my memories. i hide my experiences. i hide my opinions. i hide my aspirations.

and despite how much i hide, there is so much that i share, even when i shouldn’t.

venetian mask

i really wish that my mask was as beautiful as this, though.

all the parts of me

the plural inference of the title for this blog was not just because i think the word ‘elixir’ sounds cool.

i mean, that is part of the reason, but not the whole shebang.

i wanted to imply that there is more than one mind at work here, in the way that my personality is multi-faceted.

i tend to keep myself subdued in front of most people in my life, so my children and husband are the only ones who get anywhere near the full spectrum of personalities that i have going on.

storm with skin

lately, it seems like the free-spirited side of me has been the most present. she likes fleetwood mac and steve miller band. she wears lots of dresses and writes whenever and however she can. she craves to move and travel, for change to be a constant in life. gaudy rings, lace, and braids are an everyday thing.

this is the me that hits the gas when she drives down the curves of the mountain, holding to the wheel tight and refusing to brake. she holds her hand out the window, running her fingers through the wind just to feel connected. she is wild, and loving, and deep.

she is my gypsy soul.


the girl who resembles a 16 year old me, pieced together with tape, chipped at the edges, and dipped in shadow- she worries me. she listens to korn, deftones, and slipknot as loud as it will go. she looks at the floor as she walks, hides from the world and hates it as a whole. she needs change as much as the gypsy, but in a desperate way that shouldn’t be indulged.

she grasps at whatever will pull her from the wreckage of her mind, but is willing to pull everyone else down on her way up.

this is the me that is gone now, at least for now. hidden deep in the recesses of my mind, she waits to come out again, to pull me back again.


there is another side of me. the one that tries to fit in. the one that goes to play dates with moms she has nothing in common with to try to find a clique. she wears nice, subdued, preppy clothes, she holds her head high, she flaunts her education. she is the know-it-all, a therapist for others, but she will let everyone walk all over her just to keep them happy. she wants to be trendy, she wants to be the connected parent, she wants to have the beautiful home with white picket fence.

this side of me can be so suffocating, so monotonous.

there is the book worm, the science geek, the hateful wench, the judgmental prude, the health nut, the day dreamer, the entrepreneur.

these aren’t just characteristics of my personality. they each have their own space in my mind. they appear when they see fit, they crowd the space in my head.


for now, i’ll enjoy where the gypsy soul takes me. the winds can take me where they please, and the rains can wash me clean. the other parts can peak out, make small appearances, but the gypsy can have this life as long as she wants.

the words we say…


this week, i earned myself an asshole award, at least, that’s what it feels like.

on a day that i called someone a douche bag (several times over, mind you), he was about 20 minutes away fighting for his life.

needless to say, i feel incredibly guilty, like somehow i cursed him with my secret powers of voodoo that i didn’t know about.

now, the things i said about him were not exactly undeserved, and they certainly were not anything that i wouldn’t tell him to his face. so, logically, i cannot be blamed for this sick cosmic joke.

still, when his wife, who is one of my very favorite people in the world, called me crying about his accident, i felt like i needed to confess my sins of the voice.

it wasn’t and still isn’t appropriate, however.

even if i think the guy pulled some asshole moves, my heart has felt very heavy over the last 36 hours. he is a lineman, like my husband, and when men in this job field get hurt, every lineman and his family feels it. we are all affected. we all cry for him. we all cry for his family.

you see, as wives of linemen, we are always prepared to get the call. linemen are the unsung heroes, the ones who are constantly at risk. when they get injured, the injuries are either fatal or so severe that you wish they were fatal.

here’s a secret… even as an atheist, i wish that i could’ve found comfort in prayer this week. i wish that i could’ve asked put my burdens onto some higher entity. i wish that asking for his health could have helped his family.


i just wanted to help, and as they flew him to the burn center several hundred miles away, i was left to do nothing but think…

it’s never supposed to be someone we know. it’s never supposed to be someone that has sat at my dinner table. it’s never supposed to be someone that i have vacationed with. his face is in pictures on my wall. his children have a place in my home and heart forever.

if an accident happens, it shouldn’t be someone that has a face for me.

in the end, he has been a miracle of science. he is doing as well as can be expected for someone who had 14k volts go through him. and the lineman community in the area is breathing a little easier.

still, i have learned that my big mouth may bring bad karma. or maybe, that is just a narcissistic thought and it’s a small world with big coincidences.

i still feel like an ass though.

an unspoken truth


you don’t know this, but this cup of chai tea with honey is my reward for a productive morning.

i got up when the alarm went off this morning, without waiting for the four alarms afterward to drag me from the warmth of bed. i brushed my teeth, made my husband his bottle of tea for work, ran his work shirt through the dryer to warm it up, and started getting ready for the day. i found clothes quickly, helped my husband out the door and kissed him goodbye. got the kids up, got them breakfast, took my daily vitamins, and helped the kids find clothes.

i talked with my son about the legos he wants for christmas. i not only made the effort to do my hair, but also tamed my daughter’s wild mane as well. i took my son to school without having to yell at everyone to get in gear because we were late. i got starbucks for me and my daughter before going to walmart. i went through the store leisurely, all while playing with my daughter and smiling a lot. our smiles made others smile as well.

so? you are probably asking yourself why these things matter. these actions are not major feats. millions upon millions of people do these types of thing every day, all day.

but all of these things are a big deal, especially for someone who has battled with depression and anxiety for the last decade.


with manic depression, this was me most days. my moods flipped so much, i lost track of who i was.

at the end of august, i made the call that i have needed to make for so long now. i cried after making that appointment, those loud and torturous type of sobs. i chewed my nails until they were raw in anticipation of that day. he was going to laugh at me. he was going to ask that dreadful question “what in the world do you have to be depressed about?” that doctor was going to dismiss me, just like so many people before.

but he didn’t. that 80-something man sat me in his office like i was a real person and he told me what i already knew. he said that i am manic depressive, and that he was going to help me.

he started me on a low dose of paxil for the first month, a slightly higher dose the next month once we figured that it was not working in the way that i wanted. the higher dose was still not giving the desired result, so he placed me on citalopram two weeks ago.

and now, i feel good. i feel happy. i appreciate my kids and husband in a way that i haven’t in a long time, if ever. i’m writing again, which fills me in a way that cannot be described. i don’t hate my body and everything about myself. i can accept compliments without having to bite back my harsh denial. i can sleep through the night without waking up in killer panic attacks. lastly, i cannot remember the last time that i cried in the shower.


i even took my picture today, which is a big deal, since i have avoided taking pictures of myself for the last six months.

i am not sharing all of this out of some cry for attention, but rather, to shine some light on an issue that is so often considered taboo.

stay at home moms are supposed to be thrilled to be at home. we are supposed to love absolutely every moment with our children, and we are supposed to be overfilling with an absurd amount of patience. because, after all, we are bad mothers if we aren’t these things.

the truth? most moms i know are only homemakers because daycare is too expensive and we don’t trust strangers with our preciously wild little ones. these factors aside, we could really do without the monotony of being at home with kids. we would be out in the world, rather than running errands and driving kids back and forth. we do this because we have, not necessarily because we want to.

you will probably think to yourself a few examples of moms that are rockin’ this ‘at-home’ thing. i can too. but a part of me wonders if they are faking it on any level. do they zone out on their books or smart phones at any point, mindlessly removing themselves from the world? do they ever binge on netflix and put aside their chores until the very last moment? do they ever feel inconsolably alone, especially among the chaos that is their family?

you are not alone

it will probably take a long time before people begin to recognize, accept, and attempt to treat depression in themselves and others in a comfortable manner. depression just isn’t something that is found appropriate to discuss, and the stiff conversation surrounding the topic only continues to drive the stigma behind the illness.

it took nearly 8 years for my husband to accept the truth about my struggle with depression. i am not sure that i could have handled his denial for much longer. this last year began to hurt entirely too much.

but now… now, my soul feels so much lighter.